Ad ban looms for gambling websites

Marketers creating for clients facing the online betting industry could have their creations trounced from next month.

Under the Gambling Act 2005, which takes effect from September 1, it is illegal for operators licensed in foreign countries to advertise gambling in the UK.

Operators’ promotions will be outlawed unless they are in the European Economic Area, Gibraltar or are one of the jurisdictions included on the ‘white list.’

Operators wanting to be included on the list must show they have rigorous measures in place to protect children, conduct betting fairly and keep out crime.

And even UK websites, those in Europe and other ‘white-list’ areas, must meet the advertisers’ code if they wish to advertise on TV, radio and print media.

Their adverts must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial harm.

Their promotions must not suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial problems, and they cannot link gambling to addiction, sexual success or “enhanced attractiveness.”

And in line with the main spirit of the Gambling Act, gambling promotions or adverts must not target vulnerable people, like children, or exploit their lack of knowledge.

Sites such as William Hill Casino, Betfred Casino and are all currently based in non-white listed jurisdictions and will have to move their licences if they wish to advertise in the UK.

The new restrictions are expected to lead to about 1,000 gambling websites being banned from advertising in the UK.

James Purnell, the culture secretary, said he made no apology for banning adverts for websites operating from places that did not meet the UK’s strict standards.

The ban will apply to all forms of gambling advertising from excluded jurisdictions including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, taxis, buses, the tube and some websites.

If operators, publishers, broadcasters and advertising companies break the rules, they could face fines or even imprisonment.


13th August 2007

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